SUNY Potsdam sports weekly recap for Sept. 9-15

09.16.13

SUNY Potsdam sports recap

Week of Sept. 9, 2013

Men's soccer
The Bears earned a split over the weekend traveling to Saratoga Springs to take part in the Liberty League-SUNYAC Challenge. 

On Friday, Potsdam was nipped 1-0 in a tough, defensive battle with Skidmore College. 

Bears' leading shot takers Eduardo Figueroa (Rochester, N.Y. / Dr. Freddie Thomas) and Alessio Vitale (Liverpool, N.Y. / Liverpool) were at the forefront of the Potsdam attack once again, but could not convert.  Figueroa took five shots with one shot on goal while Vitale had three shots with one on goal. 

On Saturday, Potsdam bounced back with a 2-1 victory against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  The dynamic duo of Tom Benedetto and Figueroa each scored in the Bears' first ever win over the Engineers in five tries.

The Bears' 5-2 start matches the program's best since 2003. Potsdam's best start ever was a 6-0 stretch to begin the 2002 season.

Women's soccer
The Lady Bears went 1-0-1 this week.

Wednesday's match at SUNYIT was postponed due to lightning and heavy rains. 

On Saturday, Potsdam traveled to Albany and came away with a 1-0 win against Sage College for its' first shutout of the season. 

The Lady Bears' breakthrough moment came when sophomore midfielder Jess Sterns (Henrietta, N.Y. / Rush-Henrietta) scored on a feed from Kaylen Van Wagner (Red Hook, N.Y. / Hotchkiss) at the 45:40 mark.

It was Stern's first goal since September of last season and Van Wagner's second assist in as many games.  Sterns' goal was from about 14 yards away. 

Potsdam maintained control for the lion's share of the match by earning a robust 19-3 shots advantage.  Freshman goalkeeper Michaela Cole (Parishville, N.Y. / Parishville-Hopkinton) started her third game and played the first half, but it was Lauren Haase (Williamsville, N.Y. /Williamsville South) who played the second half and earned her first victory in her debut at goal. 

On Sunday, Potsdam returned home and battled Utica College to a 0-0 tie. 
Cole and Haase split the shutout with a save each in goal for the Lady Bears. 

Volleyball
Potsdam earned another tournament split this past weekend by going 2-2 in the RIT Invitational in Rochester.

On Friday, the Lady Bears dropped a four-setter to the University of Rochester (20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 16-25).  Senior middle hitter Sara Anderson led the Bears attack with 10 kills, while junior outside hitter Sharon Ofori added eight more. Senior setter Jenna Blujus finished with five kills, 18 assists and 10 digs. Senior setter Lauren Manzo matched her career-high with five kills, while also posting 13 assists and four digs. Junior libero Gabby Arana chipped in 21 digs.

Potsdam won a hard fought five-set battle in the later match against Medaille 25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 25-7, 15-8.

Anderson had season-high 13 kills along with six blocks, while senior outside hitter Dakota Pruiss added nine kills. Blujus had five kills, 19 assists and 13 digs. Manzo finished her night with 12 more assists and five digs and Arana totaled 18 digs. Junior outside hitter Liza Fields closed out her night with four kills, nine digs and four blocks.

On Saturday against the RIT, Potsdam fell in the first two sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-21. The Bears gutted out a 27-25 victory in the third set before succumbing to the Tigers 25-18 in the finale. Anderson racked up another 11 kills and recorded two blocks. Blujus totaled seven kills, 16 assists, 11 digs and four aces. Pruiss also contributed seven kills and a block while Manzo finished with nine assists.

In the last match of the weekend, Potsdam was up against a familiar face on the sidelines against Brockport. The Golden Eagles were led by former Bears' head coach Steve Pike, but it was current head coach Josh Stokes' squad who had the upper hand.

The Bears rallied from a late deficit in set one to capture a 25-21 victory. Brockport bounced back in set two with a 25-20 win before being closed out by Potsdam with to straight victories of 25-22 and 25-16.

Anderson was dominant again with a season-high 15 kills, while Pruiss also had a season-best effort with 12. Junior outside hitter Liza Fields posted eight kills and nine digs. Blujus totaled six kills, a season-high 32 assists and 13 digs. Manzo chipped in 12 assists and seven digs.

Golf
The SUNY Potsdam men's golf team placed 16th with a 639 (323-316) in the 30th Don Nelson Invitational that took place in Middlebury, Vt. from Sept. 14-15. 

Sophomore John Hickey (Au Sable Valley Forks, N.Y. / Au Sable Valley) was the top finisher for the Bears.  He placed tied for 28th by carding a 75-78-153.  Sophomore Conor Talty (Fairport, N.Y. / Fairport) shot a 158 (78-80) and senior Harrison Davenport (Auburn, N.Y. / Auburn) was third on the team with a 165 (81-85). 

Sophomore Daniel Kurtz (Livonia, N.Y. / Livonia) and junior Ryan Merriman (Potsdam, N.Y. / Potsdam) each improved in their second round score.  Kurtz fired a 169 (89-80) and Merriman closed with a 169 (91-78).

Par was 70 for the 6,032-yard course. 

Featured Athletes of the Week

Men
Junior forward Eduardo Figueroa came through in the clutch for the men's soccer team as his goal proved to be the game-winner in Potsdam's 2-1 road victory versus Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the Liberty League-SUNYAC Challenge on Saturday.  The Bears' 5-2 record equals its best start in program history since 2003. For that, Eduardo is the Bears' Male Athlete of the Week. 

Female
Senior middle hitter Sara Anderson turned her game up a notch this past weekend as her performance in the RIT Invitational granted her selection to the All-Tournament Team. 

The Lake George native racked up double-digit kills in all four matches including a season-high best of 15 kills in a win against Brockport and a season-high best six blocks in a victory over Medaille.  For that, Sara is the Female Athlete of the Week. 

Upcoming Schedule
The men's soccer team is back in action when they travel to Canton to face 20th-ranked St. Lawrence University at 4 p.m. on Friday.  The Bears will also host Clarkson University on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The women's soccer team will host St. Lawrence University Wednesday at 7 p.m. 

The volleyball team will be back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Colchester, Vt. for a rematch with Saint Michael's College at 7 p.m. The Purple Knights downed Potsdam in five sets in the final game of the Victory Promotions Invitational on Sept. 7.  The Lady Bears will also host St. Lawrence University Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Potsdam golf team gets only a short break as the Bears return to the course Monday to partake in the Oswego State Fall Invitational beginning at 1 p.m.